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India’s poor more concerned by starvation than coronavirus, says Christian charity

Many people in India are more concerned with starvation than coronavirus, according to the charity, Gospel for Asia.

The charity's clerics and volunteers are co-ordinating aid to those in India most affected by the pandemic. 

Its UK Director, John-Paul Dao, says people in the most deprived areas are relying on the churches for their survival: “Coronavirus is very sad, it’s very grave. Our people have been doing whatever they can to help. Our priests and clergy and every one of the churches have been going out giving food to people. Because our people wear the clergy robes and things like that, people were coming up to them asking them if they were Christians and had any food or water.”

Mr Dao says one man told them he had travelled 800km on his scooter to try to feed his family and hadn’t eaten for eight days. The charity’s children’s centres have also become community kitchens and one church is providing 500 meals every day: “They're much more concerned with starvation than coronavirus. We’ve estimated that at certain major city train stations, every day about between 20 and 25 children will just show and they will have been put on a train by their parents who could not afford to feed them, along with their, say, five or six siblings. And they did that in the hope that when they got to the major city, they'd be able to survive either by begging or just being welcomed in by a family. Often, they will join gangs, or worse things will happen.”

Mr Dao told Premier, that despite the difficulties, people were finding hope “in a God who was steady the same yesterday, today and forever. And we are just happy that we get to be a part of bringing that hope to those who are in the vicinity - those that we can get to."

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